WATSON Creek Catchment Group has almost completed a restoration project in the upper area of the creek, along one of its tributaries.
And they are happy to have had some much-needed help from volunteer groups along the way, including Somerville Secondary College and the Peninsula North Men’s Shed.
The VCAL students and teachers Catherine Arnold and Josh Blanchard, along with other volunteers, helped plant about 4000 native trees, shrubs and grasses along the creek bank. They also got rid of blackberries, pampas grass and other weeds which had been taking over.
Volunteers from the Peninsula North Men’s Shed, Baxter, made nesting boxes from recycled timber donated by Ingham Enterprises, which create breeding havens for various bird species and micro bats.
Watson Creek Catchment Group president Anne Tyrrell said Watson Creek had once been thought of as the most polluted creek in the Port Phillip/Western Port catchment area, but its health has gradually been improving with the co-operation of landowners and businesses, she said.
“Lots of projects are being undertaken in revegetation, fencing off the waterway from stock, controlling weed infestation and reducing chemical and other pollutants entering the creek system,” she said.
Ms Tyrrell said many people were unaware of the creek and its many tributaries: “It’s even mistaken for a drain in some areas,” she said.
However, as Somerville Secondary College VCAL students saw on Tuesday when they visited the final property the creek passes before entering Watson Inlet, it is a wonderful asset, attracting many birds and directly impacting on marine life in the inlet and, thus, the whole of Western Port Bay.
The group walked through riparian and then saltmarsh areas to the creek. There, Melbourne Water education officer Jane Petch explained the necessity of responsible management, the effects of human impact on creek water quality, and the importance of frogs in our environment.
Colleague Lance Lloyd gave an overview of the Water Stewardship Program being undertaken by the Westernport Biosphere, which is working with Watson Creek and looking at developing water management plans with landholders and businesses.
Ingham’s Enterprises, which are members of the Watson Creek Catchment Group, are the first business to join the Water Stewardship program. Somerville Secondary College is the first school.
A barbeque on Tuesday celebrated the completion of the planting and nest box installation, attended by the students, volunteers, Ms Petch, Mr Lloyd and John Hehir, of the men’s shed.